International Men’s Day falls on 19 November 2022, coinciding with my birthday, so there should be multiple causes to celebrate with it being a Saturday, at least for me.
In an age where everything seems to have its own day, my favourite most recently being International Jellyfish Day, this may seem to be ‘just another one’ of those days added to the calendar, or perhaps something which has been created to counter International Women's Day (8 March 2023, for those who wish to plan ahead).
However, despite great advances in equality there still seems to be an expectation in some that there are gender-specific tasks. Those who are particularly astute may recognise the words of Theresa May, backed up by her husband who likened the supremely masculine task of ‘taking the bins out’ as being a boy’s job.
International Men’s Day states its aim to "celebrate[ ] worldwide the positive value men bring to the world, their families and communities. We highlight positive role models and raise awareness of men’s well-being”. Contributions can be made in various ways, and this serves to re-enforce and recognise the changing roles that men play at home and beyond just taking the bins out.
Within my own home not only do my wife and I share taking the bins out, but we work around her shifts as a doctor and the inevitable impact this has on home life. Over the summer I’ve started to grow food in the garden, with my daughter ‘helping’ me plant and pick vegetables, as well as helping to paint the fence (with water on a brush, there’s a limit as to how much I trust a 3-year-old with outdoor paint). In doing so we hope she will grow up with the recognition, and confidence, that she is capable of more than only carrying out what may be expected of her.
In the meantime, I shall continue with my amazing capabilities of putting pyjamas on a toddler, using a soft toy jellyfish (actually an octopus, but never argue with a tired child) to do the actions for ‘Wind The Bobbin Up’ at bedtime and then, of course, taking the bins out.
On November 19, International Men’s Day celebrates worldwide the positive value men bring to the world, their families and communities. We highlight positive role models and raise awareness of men’s well-being.